An Editor’s Nightmare Before Christmas

An Editor’s Nightmare Before Christmas

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’Twas a morn before Christmas,
And all through the house
Baby’s laughter was ringing
With the girl on the couch.
Mama was moving from one comp to the other,
Making the transfer wasn’t often a bother.
She pressed Ctrl + S to preserve it with care,
But a previous version replaced what was there!
Three days’ worth of editing gone in a flash,
Her satisfied mood came down with a crash.
“Oh no!” Mama cried. “Lord, what have I done?
I have such a small window while the girl’s with my son!”
Mama called, Mama searched, but uncovered no fact
That could help Mama get her three days of work back.
She held it together while the girl said goodbye.
Now with she and her son, she could have a good cry.
The boy stared in awe as his mama did weep,
What could make Mama collapse in a heap?
When she finally looked up, he gave such a big grin.
Surely that will make Mama all happy again.
You know, Mama thought, God is still on the throne.
He is King of my heart. He is King of my home.
I can’t let this setback take such a toll,
It is Christ, Christ alone, that makes my life whole.
So she gave it to Jesus and took a long break.
Thank God she could trust Him to fix her mistake.
On Christmas, the hope of the world in her burned,
And this is the lesson that Mama did learn:

In Microsoft Word, go to File → Options → Advanced → Save, and make sure the box is checked next to “Always Create Backup Copy.”

I hope this saves someone else from their own nightmare before Christmas!

Pleasant penning,

Rachel E. Newman, CP
Freelance Editor and Indexer
Certified Paralegal

Rachel E. Newman holds a BS degree from Northeastern State University in Oklahoma. She is a member of the Christian PEN: Proofreaders and Editors Network, serves as a judge for the Excellence in Editing Award given by the Christian Editor Connection, and serves as a faculty member for PENCON, the only conference for editors in the Christian market.

PENCON 2017 will be held May 4–6, 2017, in Atlanta, Georgia. Learn how to enter the editing field or enhance an already established career. Network with other editors, and meet with the speakers one-on-one. For more information, visit

18 thoughts on “An Editor’s Nightmare Before Christmas

  1. Oh no!! I’ve had a power outage after a couple of hours in a spreadsheet, and I don’t think I was “right” for weeks. Of course, I didn’t have such a sweet reception from those I wept to. Ha! So happy that you were able to find peace!!

  2. What a delightful poem! 🙂 I’m sorry that the incident caused you anguish, by I’m glad the Lord gave you peace about it.

    In this line, the second “mama” should have been capitalized according to CMOS 8.35: “Mama called, mama searched, but uncovered no fact”

    Also, I suspect (although I’m not 100% sure) that there is either a typo or a word missing in this sentence: “Now with her and her son she could have a good cry.”

    • Great catch, Brianna! I’ve fixed the capitalization issue. In the sentence in question, I think you are right. I believe the first her should be she. It’s a bit awkward but intentional for the rhythm of the poem. The essence of it is, “Now that she and her son were alone, she could have a good cry.” I’ve fixed the issues and added five entries for you to the drawing.

  3. Excellent advice Rachel. So sorry that happened. I’ve felt that same sorrow and frustration when my laptop crashed on a story I was writing. I’m so glad you could find peace during your trial!!

    • Oh, that would be even worse, Brianna! At least I had the original version to return to. Oh, my heart hurts for your lost story. Did you rewrite it or give up?

  4. What a great poem! And fittingly named, what a nightmare that would have been! It actually made me cry a little, as my kids have seen me cry and cheered me up…but it could also be the pregnancy hormones! Lol Nevertheless, it was very touching and we’ll written!

  5. You did a MARVELOUS job with that story!!! How well it was written and fit so well together in it’s rhythm. Though I know the story was true, and sad it was, I was actually delighted to see it. You turned a rotten thing into a fun and really cool thing instead! What an opportunity for others now, to get into this drawing! I won’t even try to find any mistakes, LOL, I’m just going to say, “WELL DONE!! I’M SO PROUD OF YOU!”

  6. Hi Rachel,
    I didn’t know that option was there. Thanks. I hope you are doing wonderful!
    Since last November I have read through book 1 (separated it into two books) 2 times editing. I will send you a sample of my writing soon…. (relative word…soon by God’s definition or mine… 🙂 )

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